Hard Days Ahead for ObamaCare
Don't bet on ObamaCare. It's not going to turn into a political winner like Social Security and Medicare. So writes the excellent Jay Cost.
Because Social Security and Medicare do not discriminate between citizens, there has yet been no political coalition powerful enough to alter them. Everybody expects to benefit from them, so it has been impossible to implement even common-sense reforms.
But ObamaCare is different.
Obamacare has no such insulation from reformers because it discriminates between classes of citizens. Indeed, Democrats played all kinds of favorites[.]
Some people do better from ObamaCare, and some do worse, writes Cost.
But the bigger problem is the middle class already has health insurance. Most people will do worse under ObamaCare.
That's the trouble with universal government programs. You start out with a simple concept, like universal health insurance, and you end up screwing the majority to serve the favored few. Some people get a special deal because they are helpless victims, others because they are powerful special interests. Pretty soon everyone is gaming the system.
You end up with injustice. It's nobody's fault; not really.
Justice requires that equal people be treated the same and different people differently, yet no government bureaucracy has the bandwidth to cater to all the different needs. Fortunately ruling elites have developed a solution to this problem. They tell us rubes over and over that their simplification and centralization schemes are just wonderful, and that the problems could be solved if only the rich paid their fair share. But eventually people start wandering off and discovering nasty things under the rocks.
Let's look under a couple of rocks, just for practice. How are things with the young? The ruling class says that it does wonders for the young, protecting them with child labor laws, giving them free education, dosing them with subsidized student loans, forcing insurance companies to keep children on their parents' health insurance until age 26. But then, the ruling class would say that, because it is seeing like a state.
We know better. We know that many children, especially the children of the poor, suffer because of child labor laws and compulsory education. If poor kids could legally quit school at 13 and start work, then maybe fewer would join the only other game in town: gangs. Then there are student loans. They have buried today's generation of students in an ocean of debt while colleges rack their fees into the stratosphere. And the young still can't get jobs.
What about the workers? The ruling class is immensely proud of all the social gains it has legislated for workers. Pensions, Medicare, unemployment, workmen's comp, disability. Imagine what would happen if all that were taken away! But think of this. Why force young people to save for retirement? They should be saving for a down-payment on a starter home. Unemployment? How about moving back with Mom and Dad? Disability? Did you know that there are people holding pilot's licenses that are also collecting SSDI? When you are seeing like a state, you end up crushing millions of different working people into identical worker bees, never mind what is best for each individual.
What about the poor? The ruling class has created a safety net for the poor, so now the poor get relief as of right rather than from the fickle charity of the rich. But the result is less a safety net than a spider's web that traps the poor in life-long dependency. In Charles Murray's underclass Fishtown the family has broken down: the women become single parents and the men drop out of the workforce. Where is the justice in that?
We are not talking about egregious injustice here, the kind demands immediate redress. We are just talking about a social and cultural dumbing down that grinds everyone into identical cogs to make things easy for the political bureaucratic machine. The state wants us -- students, workers, and poor -- to just follow orders and mold ourselves into the identity that the ruling elite has defined for us. It's nothing personal, of course. It's just that the state needs to keep things simple so that it can tax us, regiment us, and control us.
After the revolution people often look back and wonder how the ancien régime could have been so out of touch, how it could have allowed injustices to fester and metastasize until it was too late. But people read The New York Times and listen to NPR for a daily reminder that everything is copacetic in LiberalLand. Nobody wants to be told that they have sold America into cruelty and injustice.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.